ATYRAU, September 30. /ITAR-TASS/. The leaders of Russia and Kazakhstan agreed on Tuesday that bilateral relations are developing and the neighboring countries are expected to overcome the plunging trade.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in Atyrau, some 350 kilometers east of the Russian city of Astrakhan, ahead of the Russia-Kazakhstan interregional cooperation forum.
While acknowledging that there has been a decrease in bilateral trade this year, the Kazakh president stressed, “I think this is a temporary trend.” He urged the two countries to adopt the necessary measures to increase trade.
Putin said Russia and Kazakhstan have friendly relations “rooted in history, and today thousands of threads are binding us and helping us develop while supporting each other.”
The Russian leader said last year trade between Russia and Kazakhstan increased by more than 14%, reaching a historic record of $28.5 billion. “In the first six months of this year, in fact, there has been a certain adjustment,” Putin said. “In the second quarter it will even regain level,” Putin said, linking the current decline to reduced trade in the oil and gas sector. He added that other parameters saw an increase.
Putin agreed with his Kazakh counterpart that the sides need to follow the current trends in the global economy and their own economies to “make certain adjustments”.
Both Russian and Kazakh leaders said that the Caspian summit in Russia’s Astrakhan between five littoral states (Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan) on Monday was successful.
Putin and Nazarbayev launched the joint project Eurasia on Tuesday for ultra-deep well drilling for hydrocarbon production.
The project aims to discover hydrocarbons deposits at the depth of some 7-9 kilometres in the area of the Caspian Lowland. The well’s depth is expected to reach 15 kilometres.
Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Energy Minister Uzakbai Karabalin told the presidents that about 80% of Kazakh hydrocarbons are concentrated in this region. About 30% of the Caspian Lowland territory is in Russia.
The Eurasia project coordinator Baltabek Kuandykov said it was planned to create a consortium in the coming months for the project implementation. “The project’s implementation will be started next year,” he said.
According to Kuandykov, the cost of the five-year project is estimated at $500 million. Russia’s major oil companies Lukoil and Rosneft, as well as Western partners, “whose experience and technology is essential,” have displayed an interest in this project. He named, in particular, Shell and Chevron, among the Western companies with which the negotiations are underway.
The Eurasia project provides for deeper than ever hydrocarbon prospecting operations in the Caspian Lowland in Kazakhstan and Russia. The Caspian basin hydrocarbon exploration until recently has been made at depths of 5,000 to 6,000 meters, while the basin’s depth is reaching 20,000-25,000 meters. According to preliminary assessments, the operations under the Eurasia project may help discover some 20 major hydrocarbons deposits with the reserves exceeding 300 million tons. It is planned to create within the project a consortium of oil and natural gas companies that will finance the operations.
The launch of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will create more favorable conditions for the joint work between Russia and Kazakhstan in the fuel energy sector, Putin said on Tuesday. “The removal of barriers in movement of capitals, goods, services and labor force will facilitate the expansion of cooperative projects,” Putin said at the 11th Interregional Cooperation Forum.
The EEC activity “will increase the attractiveness of our economies as a whole, and certain regions of Russia and Kazakhstan. This will speed up the exchange of innovation technologies”, he said. “It is important for the regional authorities, businessmen, industrialists and investors to use the opening possibilities in full. Contribution at the governmental and presidential levels will be made to this,” Putin said.
The Russian, Kazakhstani and Belarusian presidents signed the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty on May 29, 2014. The treaty establishes the Eurasian Economic Union, which ensures free movement of goods, services, capital and labor force and binds its member states to conduct coordinated or common policy in economic sectors.
Separate sections are dedicated to coordinated macroeconomic and currency policy, regulation of financial markets, cooperation in the energy and transport sectors, the formation of a common market of gas, oil and oil products, medicines and medical products.
The treaty also covers such spheres as intellectual property and state procurements, industry, agriculture, labor migration. It also regulates informational cooperation within the Union. The Eurasian Economic Union Treaty will come into force from January 1, 2015.